SPQR

In preparing for my RCIA class I learned that the word sacrament comes from the Latin word, sacramentum.  In ancient Rome, army recruits had to undergo a ritual called sacramentum to become soldiers.  They would pledge their fidelity to the gods of Rome and their loyalty to their commanding officer.  They would be tattooed with the seal of Rome, Senatus Populusque Romanus, SPQR.  This tattoo indicated that the man is a soldier and entitled to all the rights and privileges of a soldier.

In the days of early Christianity, the pagans understood joining an organization with an sacramentum.  Somehow, this word was used by the early Christians.  Well, Christians do pledge fidelity to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and loyalty to the Chrisitan community by confessing its beliefs.  We do think that once one is baptised we are marked with an invisible and indelible sign as a child of God.

The early Christians were actually plunged into water.  Baptism means plunge.  After drying off, they changed into a white robe, to symbolized starting a clean, pure, new life.  Then these neophytes would be anointed with chrism, like royalty, to show their special status as children of God.

Lastly, everyone would sit down to the meal of bread and wine: the Eucharist.  As they broke bread, they became members of the community.  

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